“We Can Go to the Tropics, Sip Piña Coladas”…Or Eat Coconut Lime Cupcakes

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Remember last week when I posted the recipe and photos of the Almond Orange cupcakes and how I told you all that my mum and I baked 4 dozen cupcakes?  Well, the almond orange ones only comprised half of that total; the other half was made up of these tangy, crunchy, creamy coconut lime cupcakes! 😀  Out of all the ones we’ve baked so far, this one is my mum’s personal favourite (my brother, who isn’t a huge fan of fruits or nuts, is surprisingly partial to the almond orange ones!).  I thought it would be appropriate to blog about these today given the rise in temperature and mild weather.  Okay, so it’s not beach weather.  And you could definitely sip piña coladas, but not outside.  It’s muddy out.  And the snow is slushy and melting and a cross between gray and brown.  But hey, you can walk outside and not wear mittens!  Eh, who am I kidding, my current version of tropic weather resides in these cupcake photos.

These cupcakes are fantastic when it comes to zingy flavour and texture.  You get that amazing crunch of coconut in the vanilla cake and a whopping zing of lime zest in every bite; you can actually see specks of lime green inside the cake and they turn out beautifully with golden brown tops.  Although I would probably add an extra tablespoon or two of creamed coconut to enhance the coconut flavour even more and to make the cake even more moist, it’s a total winner 😀  Break out a little booze and have yourself an indoor beach party!

Recipe for Creamy Coconut Cupcakes

Ingredients (Makes 12)

  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour (I actually just used regular all-purpose flour and they turned out fine for me)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons dried coconut
  • grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons milk (I used 1%)

Frosting (optional)

  • 5 oz. cream cheese (a little over half a cup)
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted (or icing sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • coconut shavings

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line your cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
  2. Beat the butter, coconut cream, and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold in.  Stir in the dried coconut and lime zest, followed by the milk.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the paper liners, then bake for about 17 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  4. To decorate, beat the cream cheese, confectioner’s/icing sugar, and lime juice together in a bowl.  Swirl the frosting on top of the cupcakes, then sprinkle over the coconut shavings.

*****

Again, I apologize for the lack of frosting >_<  Y’all know my situation *sigh*  I swear that when I make cuppycakes for you all and when I have a little home and kitchen to call my own, I will have so much frosting that my house will be nicknamed “the gingerbread house” and you all can come over and snowboard over it.  I think that’s fair.

Recipe taken from from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake, 2007.  Photographs taken by me.

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Sniff Sniff Hooray! Baking Up a Storm – Almond Orange Cupcakes

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After deciding several days prior that we were going to bake some surprise cupcakes for my grandparents and relatives, my mum and I baked up a storm Saturday morning – 4 dozen cupcakes in less than 2 hours, baby! 😀  After my first cupcake heartbreak and disaster, I was determined to kick some serious butt.  I was in excited conniptions for days, anxiously awaiting to redeem myself – and to just whip out the mixer and measuring cups.  Some famous chefs hate baking.  I love it.  Methodically measuring and sifting and spooning batter is surprisingly soothing and calming.  Not to mention it challenges you – to simultaneously be creative and precise at the same time. 

After a quickie trip to Bulk Barn last Thursday to nab a few extra things, I had everything I needed to whip up 48 cupcakes.  First up on the list: Almond Orange Cupcakes!!  They are so awesome that they deserve capitalization.  I’ll most likely adjust how long they’re in the oven the next time I bake them (I’ll take them out a few minutes earlier, I think), but oh man are these ever AMAZING.  The texture is fantastic with the crunch of almonds and the insides have larger air pockets which make for an airier cupcake.  And the smell of orange zest and toasted almonds is divine, oh my lord.  My brother loved them, my cousin loved them, and my grandma gasped at how fan-freakin’-tastic (my words, not hers, ha!) they smelled when she opened the container we gave her.  I think I redeemed myself just fine with these.  As the Gain laundry detergent commerical says, sniff sniff hooray! 😀

Recipe for Almond Orange Cupcakes

Ingredients (Makes 12)

  • 2 eggs
  • 7 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • grated zest of 1 orange (be careful not to zest the white part of the peel; that part is the pith and will result in bitter cupcakes!)
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tablespoons potato flour
  • about 1/3 cup of slivered almonds (you can adjust this amount based on how much almonds you want sprinkled on top of your cupcakes)
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (also known as powdered or icing sugar)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F, then line the cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
  2. Put the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat for 5-10 minutes until thick and pale (*note: you’ll need to set the mixer speed higher as setting it on low won’t do the job unless you want to stand at the counter for half an hour).  Add the orange zest, then sift the ground almonds and potato flour into the mixture and fold in.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups and sprinkle the slivered almonds over the top.  Bake for about 22 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean (*note: I would personally knock a few minutes off to make them even softer).
  4. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly before dusting with confectioners’ sugar.

*****

Recipe taken from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake, 2007.  Photographs taken by me.

R.I.P. Toffee Apple Cupcakes: Allergies and Deb’s First Cupcake Heartbreak

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Cupcake disaster?!  WHAT?  I know, I never thought I’d be experiencing this kind of heartbreak either *hangs head in shame*.  I mean, I may not be a domestic goddess, but a batch of cute and fresh cupcakes are my pride and joy.  You might be thinking, ‘but, but…they don’t look bad in the picture…’ and you’re right, they looked just fine (I was quite fond of the chunky apple wedges on top, YUM!) and they tasted fine too.  So what went wrong?  The wrappers.  Those darn wrappers that I thought were so cute  and so festive because of their fall leaf print literally STUCK TO and PEELED OFF my precious little apple cakes!  *cue strangled cry of despair*.

And this was especially sad because of how much I adore baked apple goods.  And there’s a reason why baked apple sweet things are so close to my heart: I cannot eat fresh apples.  Here’s a little something you may not know about me: I have a gazillion allergies and a number of them are to fruit, specifically to the raw flesh of fruit.  Growing up, I was never allergic to food, but over time I’ve developed quite a few allergies and unfortunately for me, I have come to learn about these allergies the hard way through oral allergy syndrome.  In another words, eating fresh fruit that I am allergic to will cause my mouth and tongue and throat to swell up like a blowfish. 

I know, it is so not sexy and I am telling you, it is painful.  And the list is long: apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, pineapple, honeydew melon, and cherries.  And those are the ones I’m aware of.  There may be others lurking about.  I can eat these fruits when they are cooked, baked, or preserved, but not the actual fresh fruit.  Life’s not fair, I know.   

See those dark areas on the lower half of the cupcake?  Yes, from that point onward, the wrapper stuck to the cupcake and held on for dear life with a death grip and the more we tried to peel, the more the cakes succumbed to their untimely death *sigh*  I have always used plain jane white cupcake wrappers to bake in (and would just peel them off for photos to showcase the actual cake), and never had an issue, ever.  So when I decided to bake these toffee apple ones, I thought it would be pretty to use fall themed ones and oh my lordy did they ever destory my cakes! 😦  Let it be known that it is imperative to grease the printed wrappers with either butter or non-stick cooking spray before filling them with cupcake batter.  My heart still breaks a little at the memory.

BUT!  All was not lost.  After giving up on attempting to peel the cupcake killing papers off, my brother, my mum, and I were struck with an idea.  Why not just scoop the cupcake out with a spoon?  And so we did.  I was still very heartbroken, but the end result was a nice batch of our version of apple crumb:

Moral of the story?  Everyone has baking and cooking boo-boos, never give up after you mess something up, and remember to grease those damn cupcake wrappers.

Recipe for Toffee Apple Cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 18)

  • 2 apples (click here for a list of good baking apples and the ones to avoid)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 ⅟₄cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1⅟₂tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. butter (plus extra for greasing)
  • scant 1/2 cup of milk (“scant” meaning just “just short of” the specific measurement)
  • scant 1/2 cup of apple juice
  • 1 egg, beaten

Ingredients for Topping (optional)

  • 2 tbsp. light cream
  • 3 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsbp. butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Grease two 9-cup muffin/cupcake pans (or 18 wrappers).
  2. Core and coarsely grate one of the apples.  Slice the remaining apple into 1/4 inch thick wedges and toss in the lemon juice.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon, then stir in the sugar and grated apple.
  3. Melt the butter and mix with the milk, apple juice, and egg.  Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing lightly until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin/cupcake pan.  Put 2 apple slices on top of each cake.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until risen, firm, and golden brown.
  5. For the topping, place all the ingredients in a small pan and heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.  Increase the heat and boil rapidly for 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened and syrupy.  Cool slightly, then drizzle over the cakes and let set.

*****

Rceipe taken from Easy Cupcakes, Parragon Books Ltd 2009.  Photographs taken by me.

OMG, Marshmallows! Chocolatey, Ooey Gooey Rocky Road Cupcakes

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Who doesn’t get giddy over marshmallows, especially mini ones??  They’re adorable and really, marshmallows bring back a lot of childhood (and even adult!) memories for a lot of people, including myself.  Memories of watching them float in a mug of warm hot chocolate, roasting them over a fire and letting the toasty, ooey gooeyness melt in your mouth, using them to make Rice Krispy square treats, playing Chubby Bunny with them (oh man are there ever hilarious memories of this!  haha!), and just plain popping the white pillowy squishies in your mouth.  Those are reasons why marshmallows kick serious ass and why they continue to tug on our heartstrings and our tastebuds. 

And they’re irresistible in these chocolatey Rocky Road cupcakes.  The white chocolate and marshmallows make the chocolate cake super moist and melty, mmmm.  My apologies for the lack of frosting again; family is weird and does not like it.  That however did not stop me from topping mine with chocolate chip and marshmallow goodies.  Enjoy! 😀

Ingredients (Makes 12 cupcakes)

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk (*I used 1% milk)
  • 1 oz. white chocolate chips (or 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds or brazil nuts (*I didn’t use them in mine, but it’s up to you!)

Frosting to Decorate

  • 3 ⅟₂oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (approx. 100 grams)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds or brazil nuts
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • mini marshmallows

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, then line cupcake/muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and fold in.  Stir in the milk, followed by the white chocolate chips, marshmallows, and if using, nuts.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the cups and bake for about 18 minutes until risen and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  4. For the frosting/topping: put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in a saucepan until almost boiling, then pour over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir until smooth and creamy, then let cool for about 30 minutes until thick and glossy.
  5. Spread the chocolate mixture over the cupcakes and sprinkles with nuts, chocolate chips, and marshmallows.

*****

Recipe from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake, 2007.  Photographs taken by me.

Blueberry and Lemon Cupcakes

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Hip hip hooray for baked goods!  Thus far I’ve made several posts about cupcakes from cupcakeries in the city, but I haven’t made a post about any of the cupcakes I’ve baked myself.  So here’s the first!  I love anything lemon and the combination of blueberries with lemon in the recipe made the cupcakes sound sweet and tart at the same time.  And there’s something about using cornmeal that’s very “homey”, so altogether everything seemed to fit the bill for great tasting and great looking cupcakes!  This recipe was super easy to follow and I hope you all enjoy it.  The cupcakes have a great texture from the cornmeal, YUM. 

Oh!  Just a note: my family is super weird because they don’t like cupcake frosting!  I love them, but really, they’re weird because of this!  I loooove frosting and it pains me that I couldn’t frost these babies up, but I did the best I could under the circumstances.

Ingredients (makes 10 cupcakes)

  • 1/3 cup fine-ground cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1⅟₂tablespoons vegetable oil
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Frosting to decorate

  • 5 oz. cream cheese *1 standard “block” of Philadelphia cream cheese is 8 0z., so you can eyeball it*
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar (or icing sugar), sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • strips of lemon zest

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F , then line a cupcake/muffin pan with 10 paper liners.
  2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, and baking powder in a bowl, then set aside.  Beat the sour cream, oil, and lemon zest and juice together in a small bowl, then set aside.
  3. In another separate bowl, beat the egg and sugar together for seveal minutes (the recipe says 4 minutes, but you can use your own discretion) until thick and pale, then add the lemon mixture and fold in.  Sift the cornmeal mixture over top and fold in to combine.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners, then drop about 4 blueberries on top of each one, gently pressing them into the mixture.  Bake for 15-16 minutes until risen and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until creamy, then beat in the confectioner’s sugar (or icing sugar, depending on what you have), lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Swirl dollops of frosting on top of the cupcakes and top with fresh blueberries and strips of lemon zest.

*****

Recipe taken from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake, 2007.  Photographs taken by me!